Stress Free Parenting – sounds like an oxymoron, right?
For a lot of us, parenting is a stressful thing. It is a job, you could call it, which is such a big responsibility, and which you only get one shot at. It’s also something noone is trained for. You work it out as you go along. Sure, you can read books on it, get advice on it, but for the most part it is still a daunting, challenging job.
Nowadays, we as parents find ourselves busier and busier, with less time to do anything for any decent amount of time. Parenting can be one of those things – rushing kids from school to home, doing chores, putting on dinner, and then getting through the bedtime routine. A lot of the time it may feel like you just don’t have time to connect with each of your children effectively.
So how do we live stress free lives, in the middle of a lifestyle of stress?
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST
Just like in an airplane, when you’re advised, in the case of an emergency, to give yourself oxygen first and then tend to those around you so that you are ABLE to help them effectively, the same goes for day to day living. Take care of the ‘golden goose’ – that’s you! You’re of no good use to anyone if you don’t take time to eat properly, exercise, socialise, regroup and take it easy on yourself. Mom guilt is a huge issue for many moms who are juggling so much, and you feel like you just aren’t doing anything well enough. Cut yourself some slack! Notice what you are doing right! Make a plan for the things you need to work on, but don’t be your own worst critic.
When you take time out to do the important things for yourself, you function better overall, as a person and as a parent. In a survey I read recently, I noticed that 88% of working parents suffer from stress related health issues. Take care of yourself first!
REALISE THAT BOYS WILL BE BOYS, AND THAT IS NORMAL
Instead of trying to change or control the noise and chaos that comes with having boys, try and see them in a different light – they were MADE to be noisy and messy and busy and full of testosterone. Give them boundaries, and then set them free to BE boys in every way that they need to be. Let them know that it’s okay to be loud in all those crazy boy-ways that they are. You’ll be less stressed as you aren’t trying to control all that energy all the time, and they’ll feel more secure knowing they are accepted as they are.
A GOOD, BALANCED ROUTINE
Take some time to sit down, and write all the things that you feel are important to touch on each day, or the things that you find yourself feeling guilty over – not enough bonding time with your boys, take aways for dinner often, too much TV time, etc. Make some notes on what you’d like your days to be filled with, and what you find most important to have achieved by the end of each day. A few small changes in the right direction could do wonders for your routine, as well as the effectiveness of your time spent with your son(s).
SIMPLIFY YOUR DAY & BOND
Take a few minutes to evaluate what you spend your time on each day, and see where you can cut back on unnecessary items in your diary. See how you can slow down the pace of your life slightly for a bit of bonding time with your son. A small break every few hours to relax and do something you enjoy doing together, like a hobby, or having a milkshake together, does wonders for your relationship. Schedule in some bonding time with your son, where you do something together and talk about his day, where he’s at and how he’s feeling in the situations he’s in at the moment.
Tweaking your routine, how you spend your time, and what you focus most on in life, will help reduce your stress and enrich your relationship with your son. It’s a productive and important thing to sit down and do! Take some time today to reevaluate your timetable.
All 20 chapters of Raising Boys is available to download and read right here.